Bend and Snap

What drew me to Bend and Snap was the way that it was sold to me. Three words: contortion romantic comedy. What was this strange genre, and how it would meld together to create a Fringe show? It was something I needed to see, and I am very grateful that I did.

I usually do not give out five stars. This show wasn’t Circus Soleil, but it deserves every single star I gave it.

The Café Outside the Square, a small café with a pay it forward program that feeds the homeless, is the perfect venue for the wholesome show. I did get lost on the way there; however, having the venue distanced from the Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony meant that the atmosphere was less distracting and more focussed on the singular show I was there to see. The cosy café venue means that the audience can see just how much fun the actors were having performing and join in on the gleeful cheer. That is the magic of Adelaide at Fringe time, anywhere can be a Fringe venue.

A fun, down to earth comedy, Bend and Snap is a humorous show with amazing talent and stretchy bodies. Incorporating moments from popular film and theatre productions, there are scenes that will have you in giggles, gasping or gaping at great feats. Use your imagination to see the show’s minimalist set, and watch the actors themselves become tables, chairs and even the ocean.

I heard once in a Fringe show, that you should clap if someone on the stage is doing something that you cannot do. With this in mind, I was clapping for the whole hour length of the show.

I have given Bend and Snap five stars for many reasons. If you have a jolly sense of humour, like to see the human body bend into bizarre shapes, or just want to support some local, home-grown entertainment, please go along and see why I rate it so highly.

The sold-out show was so popular that it is returning for a third show on the 7th of March. I would highly recommend going along to support local Adelaide theatre and seeing the only con-rom-com Adelaide has to offer.

5 / 5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham
For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Big Glittery Sh!tshow

Big Glittery Sh!tshow… What can I say? The name says it all.

A perfect show for a night out with friends, and definitely not a night out with family, Big Glittery Sh!tshow is a cacophony of lights, glitter, singing, and drinking.

Set against the background of The Parlour in Gluttony, Big Glittery Sh!tshow is a show that just doesn’t make sense. Awkward laughs, in your face attitude, and the sculling of various liquors will be thrust upon the audience in this late-night show.

Starting with fluffy dressing gowns and a lunch box, the show quickly progresses to sexy skipping rope jumping, potato throwing, aggressive trampolining and more. Incorporating classic Fringe staples such as ladder tricks and hula hoops with groovy music and dildos in a strange and enjoyable cocktail of fun. There might even be a fight to the death with members of the audience in a strange saga involving rubber ducks.

Continuously drinking between each act, the show gets more and more ridiculous as the night goes on. At the Fringe, you’ve got to be different to be noticed, and the masterminds behind Big Glittery Sh!ishow were successful in this; creating an atmosphere of reckless abandon. For one hour, I was sitting inside a world of shiny, gold, alcohol-soaked antics with absolutely no consequences.

Almost a cabaret show on crack; this dark and stupidly funny show is like a vodka aunt back in her glory days: inappropriate, nonsensical, outrageous and just plain sexy.

This show is for people wanting to forget about their lives and be swept away into a riot of colour and gold unitards. Recommended for an 18+ audience, preferably without a parent in tow, it might get a tad awkward.

I give this show a four and a half stars for its unapologetic approach to Fringe entertainment.

 

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham

Big Glittery Sh!tshow is on at Gluttony until February 29

For more information and to book tickets click here

Circolombia: Acelere

Forget conventionally mundane circuses with animal acts, cheesy showmanship and striped leotards. The stylings of Circolombia and their show ACELERE are all you need!

Hailing from Colombia, these group of artists bring many a jaw-dropping spectacle to the stage along with a refreshing injection of richly energetic culture. South-American musicality is on full display through the group’s exceptional vocalists and their collectively raw and kinetic style of dance. No matter the backing track (whether it be eerily atmospheric or full of Colombian flavour) ACELERE has a great balance and sense of unison with its sound and visuals. With the aforementioned vocal and dance performances serving as interludes or introductions to the next act, they work well to build audience anticipation.

Now, on to what everyone hopes for when seeing a circus act. Outstanding acrobatics and stunts. ACELERE manages to deliver these desires in droves. You may see limited potential in what can be achieved with a beam, a plank, wires, or large rings but Circolombia certainly doesn’t. Their approach to each of these obstacles/tools is so out of the box and inventively creative. Their rope and wire work is hypnotising as a result of their ability to use whatever they hold an extension of themselves.

Without a doubt, you’ll be sucked into sudden trances of movement before being slapped across the face with yet another dramatic manoeuvre. A large seesaw style plank serves as fuel on the fire for the performers to escalate their antics and constantly one-up each other. The giant ring is also a daring art for the performance, proving the strength, agility, and balance of the artists ten-fold.

ACELERE even manages to work its set up in a new way. Rather than just setting up mats or apparatuses in the background, they are interacted with as the performers find their place on stage. Circolombia flip, slide and vault around them as they seamlessly begin to transition into the conquering of their next stunt.

It’s unconventional, passionate, and successfully brings new life into the circus.

4 / 5 stars


Words and photography by Isaac Freeman

Circolumbia: Acelere is on until March 15

For more information and to book tickets, click here

Werewolves

“As night falls on the town of Millers Hollow, there’s trouble afoot and werewolves are stalking the innocent villagers.” – Nicholas Philips

Werewolves is an interactive party game, hosted by Nicholas Philips, in which the players must find and kill the werewolves before the village is decimated. I attended the February 19 performance given at the Ruby Room at Holden Street Theatres. The experience was nothing like I thought it would be.

The premise of Werewolves is pretty good to say the least. There are several different characters: Villagers, a Seers (who can see other people’s cards), Cupid (who can make two people lovers), a Witch (who can cure or kill someone), Hunter (can kill someone before dying) and Werewolves (who kill other players). I was given the Hunter card, which saved me halfway through the game.

Werewolves is a game where the enjoyment comes from the audience. My experience was enhanced by the great audience. The people overall were engaging and enthusiastic about it. One or two people brought some unnecessarily long-winded conversations into the game, which took me out of the experience and was irritating; however, the host handled it very professionally.

Due to low numbers, the event almost didn’t happen. Thankfully, some staff members from Holden Street Theatres joined in bringing their enthusiasm.

The Werewolves experience changes with each game, which makes it a refreshing change for the Fringe. In my game, for example, our village got decimated (thanks to yours truly) and I was the only one left alive. It was these tense moments which heightened my enjoyment. Could you trust your fellow player, or should you suspect everyone?

If you’re interested in giving something different a go, or just want a fun game with strangers or friends, then Werewolves is a must see. There is a lot of enjoyment to be found within this game and is both tense and edge-of-your-seat entertaining. I would love to play Werewolves again this Fringe to see how different it is.

 

4 / 5 stars


Words by Cameron Lowe

Werewolves is on until March 15

For more information and to buy tickets, click here

Bella Green is Charging For It

It would appear that the daily mainstream media has gotten sex work all wrong. Well, we all mostly knew that already; the Murdochracy in which we live works pretty hard to cast certain groups of people in some pretty harsh lights. The accepted theory about sex work is that it empowers people. It facilitates a transfer of power from the traditional wielder to a previously marginalised minority. Bella Green insists we’ve got it all wrong, what’s empowering about this line of work is gaining the ability to sleep in until midday whilst also being able to spend $7 on a punnet of blueberries in the middle of winter. Y’know, she’s actually pretty spot-on with that logic.

Green started as a dancer at 18, and progressed to other disciplines of the industry – dominatrix, escort, peep shows, brothels, nice strip clubs, bad strip clubs, gentrified strip clubs – and has gained a pretty extensive knowledge about the do’s, don’ts, and really don’ts about a pretty taboo topic, for both patrons and employees. Like, for example, how if a person asks a sex worker about what’s the freakiest/nastiest/weirdest thing they’ve ever done, in under ten minutes that patron will undoubtedly ask to do some seriously freaky/nasty/weird activity. Which, if they’re willing to pay appropriately & not be a douchebag, can absolutely be negotiated, because for Green, this is just a job. Why not do the easiest thing in the shortest amount of time for the most money? Again, she’s making some pertinent points. Having worked ‘real’ jobs for six years, she’s happy to compare conditions, and maintains that working in a call centre for a bank definitely comes dead last.

A lot of the humour is derived from the frankness of Green, and the ease at which she talks about and deconstructs her day job. There’s a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but the pure stand-up portions of the show probably aren’t as strong as the unfiltered observations and commentary of her industry, being as candid, blunt, and thoroughly engaging as she is, and having discovered her interest in ‘these sorts of things’ early on, any stigma is long gone. She’s also not scared of drawing attention to the wild injustices that surround it, the criminalisation of sex workers and the opprobrium levelled at those that pay for their services. A comparison between her line of work and a doctor conducting an STI test pithily asks why there isn’t an ocean of pearls being clutched for the unfortunate gynaecologist.

Look, sex is fun. Sex is funny. Being a judgey little schmuck and maintaining outdated stereotypes about these things is decidedly unfunny. Bella Green’s here to set you straight.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Bella Green is Charging For It is on at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge until March 1

For more information and to buy tickets please click here

Right Here, Right Now

Incredibly talented and immensely creative, Josh Belperio is someone I’m privilaged to have seen perform. Despite this show being raw and a little unpolished that only serves to highlight his creativity and ability to improvise on stage.

Having attended Belperio’s show 30,000 Notes last year, I was keen to find out more about this introspective individual. Having produced such an emotive show, I was keen to see one of his more comical shows with Scarred for Life. Instead, shortly before the launch of Fringe, I discovered that Belperio was taking a different route again, turning away from his previous two introspective shows to produce something a little more off-beat. Something to showcase his anger at everything that has occurred across our recent and quite devastating summer. This made me even more intrigued to know what Belperio has been up to and just what kind of show he would produce.

Going to Holden Street Theatres in the evening just after the sun has set is quite a special experience, one I aim to have at least once throughout the Fringe season. With a number of shows on simultaneously, there’s always a vibe of quite anticipation waiting.

We were led into a room much smaller than I’d expected where we found Belperio waiting beside a keyboard with the calm enthusiasm of an experienced performer. Since the previous year where he was presenting his notes and those left behind by his beloved Nonna, Belperio’s character had undergone a transformation. The clean-cut man of yesteryear replaced by someone clear in his rebellion.

Belperio started the show discussing the recent bush-fire crisis in song, moving on to his criticism of PM Scott Morrison (which is available to watch online here), and discussing the link between the bush-fire crisis and how LGBTQIA+ rights have been challenged by the religious discrimination bill.

The show itself was engrossing, breath-taking, even awe-inspiring. Belperio had homed in on his anger in the last few months, distilling it into something resembling cabaret but also a little more. Raw and, in places, improvised, this performance was both authentic and compelling .

While certainly presenting a relevant show, Belperio opens the discussion with his audience about the current political climate and the issues with media scapegoating the LGBTQIA+ community as a way to avoid climate action. It should be a time for us to come together to work on a solution; however, Morrison seems set on creating further division at a time when time is running out.

Drawing in new information to the discussion daily, Belperio’s improvisation for this show is impressive. Part cabaret, part honest discussion, this is a show you need to see to fully grasp. I would highly recommend seeing Belperio perform. He is such a talented person and I look forward to watching his career progress.

5 / 5 stars


 

Words by Kayla Gaskell

Right Here, Right Now is playing at Holden Street Theatres until February 28

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

The Devil Made Me Do It

An independent production by Write Me Originals, The Devil Made Me Do It is a theatre piece interrogating the pressures of being an actor/dancer in Hollywood or even just a woman in the 1950s.

Beginning as an intermission dancer, Nancy was offered the chance of a lifetime making films with director Robert Melva. Without much thought for the consequences, she signed on sacrificing not only her name but her independence, her body, and her life to the showbiz industry. Renamed as Nora Hudson, she’s cultivated into a glamorous starlet by the production company and encouraged to take a number of pills to enhance her suitability as at actor (eg pills for weight loss and energy). Eventually she loses herself along the way, realising that nobody in the industry valued her for herself, instead they valued her for being a sex symbol.

Nancy needs to break her contract with the devil – despite the fact he laughed in her face when she suggested it, she is determined to regain her soul. Given a challenge and a countdown, Nancy must revisit memories of her past and uncover what kind of person she truly is. It might be painful, but it’s necessary if she’s ever going to have a shot at regaining her soul.

While the story appears to be Nancy’s, it is more so about the haunting figure in the background. Both Nancy’s past and present selves are overshadowed by the devil. Nancy’s devil is the devil while Nora’s is her infamous manager, Melva, who is not only controlling and demanding, he is the person Nora must please daily to maintain her path to stardom.

With some dark turns this production explores a number of issues including drug-dependence, body-image issues, and gas-lighting. The Devil Made Me Do It is an engrossing piece of performance theatre with several quite talented young actors. The piece is a warning to performers, and people in general, to be wary of what you’re signing up for and the consequences of signing a contract that might exploit you later on/ bite you on the ass.

With costuming a throw-back to the 50s and the iconic blonde-bombshell archetype, the show is a delight to watch.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Kayla Gaskell

The Devil Made Me Do It is playing at the Bakehouse Theatre until February 22

For more information and to book tickets, click here

DON’T SHOOT! I’m a Vegan

DON’T SHOOT! I’m a Vegan  is a show about being sick of all the same jokes from your omnivorous friends. A cabaret-comedy opening up the conversation about what it means to be vegan. Welcoming vegans, non-vegans, and closet vegans alike, this is a something for everyone to enjoy.

Vegan Smythe is a rambunctious character, eager to share his experience of being vegan in a world which believes the term synonymous with being gluten free. For every vegan reading this, you’ve probably experienced this. Inclusive of soon-to-be-popular music such as “Where Do Your Get Your Protein?” and “Hunters Are Punts”, the show devolves from cabaret-comedy into something a little more thought provoking when we discuss the true purpose of milk and the beautiful hypocrisy of ‘all natural yoghurt’.

Smythe’s show isn’t there to preach pro-vegan messages, more so to get a good laugh out of a diverse crowd and make a mockery of the day-to-day misunderstandings that occur. At the beginning of the show Smythe acknowledges he’s going to overuse the word ‘vegan’, but how else could you present a show with vegan in the title?

A highly charismatic speaker, Smythe quickly sets you at ease. While you might at first question the black tear drop beneath his eye, his stage presence quickly reassures you that this eccentricity is not there to distract from a lack of talent, but to further compliment his character.

Filled with musical numbers, I couldn’t help but wonder: what if it were socially acceptable not only to talk but to sing about the “humane” slaughter of animals and the day-to-day gripes of being a vegan?

With a mixed audience of vegans and non-vegans, Smythe had us all in stitches by the end. Familiar in all the right ways, I think it’s fair to say just about anyone will get a kick out of this almost Peter Combe-esque comedy. I certainly think it’s the perfect-pick-me-up for the end of a long day.

5 stars


 

Words by Kayla Gaskell

Don’t Shoot I’m a Vegan is on at The Jade until March 10

For more information and to book tickets, click here

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster

It may be somewhat difficult to comprehend what can come of the words ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘beatboxing’.

Is there someone dressed like Frankenstein beatboxing? Is it just beatboxing with the word ‘Frankenstein’ thrown in? If you assumed either of those you’re be dead wrong.

In reality, what you get is an 80-minute musical spectacle from six diversely skilled and exceptionally talented performers. If beatboxing ensembles where superheroes these guys and girls would be the Avengers.

London’s very own BAC Beatbox Academy brings it’s ‘On Tour’ group to the Adelaide Fringe for Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster. Showcasing a multi-talented crew consisting of young rappers, beatboxers, and vocalists, this is a show which has to be heard to be believed.

Their approach to Mary Shelley’s original is incredibly unique, breaking down the content to three playful, entertaining, and quite socially relevant chapters. They deal with what exactly makes a monster in the modern age and how current behaviours and activities impact today’s youth. Dealing with themes of social media, body image, and mental health the show gives plenty of food for thought.

That alone is not all that Frankenstein has on offer; in addition to their narrative, they take plenty of time to interact and engage with the audience. You may find yourself part of a literal human drum machine at the hands of the group’s director, Conrad Murray (who really knows how to work a crowd). You’ll also witness plenty of tongue in cheek banter, improvisation, and short but sweet beatbox renditions of well-known songs such as Prodigy’s “Firestarter” and Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack”. While the ending of the show won’t be spoiled, it is certainly a fun and heavily entertaining conclusion that guarantees no two shows will be the same.

One aspect of Frankenstein that needs to be commended is its ability to balance tone. The group can have you chuckling with glee one minute and deeply contemplative the next, a true feat in itself.

You will be scratching your head in utter bewilderment throughout as you think “how exactly are they doing that with their voices?”. You may think there is a backing track, you may think there is a DJ somewhere backstage, but there is not, they are just that damn talented.

Without a doubt, this show is a must-see for any Fringe goer in 2020.

 

5 stars


Words and photography by Isaac Freeman

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster is playing at RCC until March 15

For more information and to book tickets, click here

Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper

When the evening began with a clown dragging a shackled nun to the stage it soon became evident that Alice Cooper was not being covered – he was being embodied. Retro Production’s Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper is a wickedly diverse two-act show spanning across the greatest hits of this 70’s icon. Expect costume changes, theatrics, props, and of course, legendary rock songs such as ‘I’m Eighteen’, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, ‘Department of Youth’, ‘School’s Out’, and more.

Dave Hudson shines on vocals, proving to be competent in handling the bellowing lows and threatening highs of each song. His stage presence is immense as he adopts the mannerisms of Cooper, almost making it seem as if the music has completely taken over him. He orchestrates his band much like a conductor at times (but if a conductor ruled with a long shiny sword rather than a baton). He plays around with the band, weaving in and out as if he is wildly encapsulated by the sounds being produced.

The band themselves are a true highlight of the performance, plenty of skills are on display from their guitarists, Chris Anthony & Richard Poray who both ooze of style and passion as they play. Steve Smith is thunderous on the drums (and notably adorns a Guy Fawkes mask during the second act), and Jason Anderson blasts the bass with ease as Ashley Miller provides the final touches on keyboards. The all-singing and all-screaming back-up vocals accompany the band with a well-balanced stage presence. Collectively the band covers Cooper’s classics with relentless energy and stamina often leaving you thinking “wait, they aren’t going to take a breather after that?”

Theatrics also play a huge role in this performance. While the specifics won’t be detailed, it has to be mentioned that there are live-snakes and a guillotine. They bode well as extensions of the music and provide many crowd-pleasing moments as a result.

Between the two acts, the first is noticeably stronger theatrically. While the second act certainly has its abundance of musical successes, the theatrics seem to become somewhat repetitive at points and drag for just a little too long. One particular moment involving a spider verges on becoming a little awkward.

That being said, these minor issues do not overshadow the successes of the experience. It is needless to say that Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper is a fitting ode to its subject. Just try not to get too freaked out by the abundance of baby dolls littered across the stage!

4/ 5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

 

Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper plays again on February 21 at the Clovercrest Hotel and on February 27 at the Marion Cultural Centre.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.